student led conferences

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by bina1357, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. bina1357

    bina1357 Companion

    Jul 9, 2003
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    Aug 29, 2009


    My principal would like to incorporate student led conferences this year. We are all a bit nervous. He gave us some information but I am still not totally sold on this idea. We are going to hold 4 conferences at once. We just sit in the corner while the kids explain/show their portfolios to their parents. If a parent wants to talk to us directly they'll have to reschedule ANOTHER conference. Though my principal said that parents usually don't need another conference.

    I am using file folders for the portfolios. The kids decorated them. I had the kids do a strengths/weakness reflection, a reading interest survey, and they drew a picture of what they thought a scientist looks like.

    Now that I'm starting to get into the nitty gritty school (tests, quizzes, projects) how do I get my kids to select their pieces for the portfolios? I would like them to fill out some sort of reflection on each piece, too.

    My other worry is that a kid won't find anything to put in their portfolio and at conference time will have nothing to talk about.

    Thanks for the ideas/advice!

    4th grade teacher
  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Aug 8, 2005
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    Aug 30, 2009

    I first did student-led conferences about 7 years ago and I swore I would never do it another way! About half of the teachers in my school have student-led conferences at our first parent-teacher conferences at the end of November. It is truly a wonderful thing to watch and listen to the students talk to their parents about their successes.

    I have 4 conferences at once going on the room, but I do not sit in the corner. I circulate among the groups and be sure that I always take the opportunity to sit down with each student and their parents to talk for a few minutes. When I conducted more formal conferences, I always encouraged the students to attend anyway, so this isn't that different. If there are delicate issues that need to be discussed, I usually make another appointment with the parents (although, if there are serious issues, I would have spoken with the parents about it before the formal interviews).

    I always give the students some specific guidelines about what to include in their portfolios--for each subject they choose at least one thing did well and want to brag about and one thing that they would improve upon the next time. In this way, they are able to discuss term 2 goals with their parents at the same time. We spend time in class role-playing the conferences so that the kids know what they are going to show and talk about well before-hand.

    Another benefit of student-led conferences is that, for some students, this 30-45 minute meeting with their parents may be the most time they spend with their parents having a focussed discussion about their accomplishments.

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